Itumeleng Khune may well have 147 clean sheets in 317 matches for Amakhosi – but ‘Mzansi’s finest’ has failed to keep a domestic clean sheet for well over 5 months!
The last time the Kaizer Chiefs shot-stopper kept a clean sheet in the league was on 2 September 2020, against Chippa United, in a 1-0 win in the penultimate game of the 2019/20 campaign.
His most recent clean sheet in all competitions came on 29 November 2020, in a 1-0 CAF qualifier first round win over PWD Bamenda.
Since then, he has gone six league matches without keeping a clean sheet for the Glamour Boys, totaling 540 minutes. Bearing in mind that he has only featured six times in the league for Chiefs this season, in which he has conceded 12 goals.
All evidence indicates that Khune’s prowess between the sticks for Chiefs has evaporated over the years. Since registering 16 clean sheets in the 2017/ 18 season, his league return for clean sheets kept in the subsequent seasons: six, three, and zero in the current campaign.
These stats making for shocking reading from a man who has enjoyed a glorious career for both club and country; however, he has been usurped in both spheres, with Daniel Akpeyi laying claim to the Chiefs number one jersey, while Ronwen Williams has staked his claim as Bafana Bafana’s number one.
There are a number of factors behind Khune’s rot. He has lost the agility that made him famous and earned him the nickname ‘Spider Kid’, after his childhood hero Brian Baloyi, he looks badly out of shape, which as a result has made him sluggish.
Even his famous distribution, which he is renowned for across the globe, has let him down this season. In matches against SuperSport United and Black Leopards, Khune had some costly errors which saw Bradley Grobler and Ovidy Karuru benefit respectively.
His costly errors, his latest coming in Chiefs’ loss to AmaZulu, have seen him come under some heavy criticism from all corners of the country, particularly the club’s fans who have been hero-worshipping the man from Ventersdorp since making his club debut in 2007.
The Siya crew has reported that Chiefs are lining up Khune’s long-term successor Brandon Petersen, who is likely to be joining Gavin Hunt’s side when their transfer ban comes to an end on 1 July. The addition of the 26-year-old casts further doubt on Khune’s long-term future at the Naturena-based outfit.
Which perhaps leaves only one question: Is Khune’s best days in a Kaizer Chiefs shirt behind him?